Rad~ 1986, Hal Needham, USA


Rad is, unquestionably, the single most clichéd movie I have ever had the privilege of suffering through. If Rad wasn’t shot in color, I would have assumed this was, in fact, the very first movie ever made. It isn’t, though, Rad is just the most derivative film anyone could possibly make.

THE PLOT~ When a secret cabal of old, wealthy, white men (oh no!) get together to launch a BMX track based money making scheme, they find their “sure thing” investment dashed by a determined local boy named Cru, who will stop at nothing to enter the race, even though he is horribly, nightmarishly deformed.

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He’s hideous…

The bad guys bring with them a whole team of cronies, including the current BMX world champion (some blonde uber-douche called “Bart,”) and two twin brothers who dress like G.I. Joe villains.


There they are.

Also a member of Team Mongoose (the bad guys) is the implausibly pretty Christian (Played by Lori Loughlin), who has become disenchanted with her team’s off the charts douchebaggary, and wastes no time defecting to Team Rad (the good guys). For some reason, she immediately develops a romantic interest in the hellishly disfigured Cru, suggesting that she herself is somehow mentally ill.

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That’s exactly what Freddy Kruger would look like after a bunch of botox.

From there it’s just neat bike tricks and old people trying to keep the youth down. Except for all the old people who are really nice. So really, it’s only like, a handful of old people that suck in Rad. Otherwise, most people are cool.

Rad isn’t well done no matter what angle you look at it from. Anytime you’re flying high on the wings of nostalgia and really need a reality check, pop RAD into your VCR and prepare to be reminded of just what an intellectual gas chamber the 1980’s really were. This turkey bumbles and sucks to and fro, back and forth, all the live long day. And that kid they cast as the lead…

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It’s like one of those Team America Marionettes made a wish to be a real boy…

Still, it is probably the best movie about BMX bikes ever made, for whatever that’s worth. It certainly beats BMX Bandits, in my opinion, and is likely the closest thing the bike world ever got to their very own Thrashin’. If you were a BMX kid in the 80’s, you probably loved this film, and that was not wrong of you.

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He looks like a trout after a fatal overdose of sleeping pills.

It’s not even necessarily wrong to love Rad now. It sucks, you need to admit that, but nearly everything we love about the 80’s sucked at least a little bit. Somewhere amongst all the stupid, this thing winds up being somewhat lovable, and even a little bit fun.

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That’s exactly what Earthworm Jim would look like if he were real.

Of course, Rad also features a sequence in which the bad guys hog the dance floor of the local high school with an elaborately choreographed dance routine, which is so staggeringly awful that I was embarrassed to actually see it with my own eyes.

twincestPlus, where was the Vatican on this one? Are they just not condemning anything anymore? Someone needed to do something about this.

Then things go from unthinkably bad to immeasurably worse when Cru and Christian retaliate against Team Mongoose by wowing students and faculty alike with an impromptu freestyle tandem bike dancing routine of their very own.

bike dance 1bike dance 2bike dance 3

I included these pictures because who would believe me otherwise?

Nothing could be more damming in a film review than photographic evidence of a tandem bike dancing routine, so clearly, we have proven beyond dispute that Rad is 90 minutes of utter humiliation and gonzo dog shit that the human race really didn’t need to add to our rap sheet, but as bad as all that is, here’s where I get real with you for a second… We have to remember that no matter what, at the end of the day, this is a film from the 1980’s… It’s about BMX racing, and it’s called RAD. Rad for fuck’s sake! Let’s just face the facts… There will always be an audience for this film. It has irony locked in a full nelson for all eternity, and the many heinous shortcomings I’ve outlined in the above text will actually keep Rad alive for decades to come.

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…For better or for worse…


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